Only in Canada you say!
Date: Monday, November 27 2006
Our accommodating political elites are granting Quebec sovereignty incrementally. Separatists don’t have to win a referendum.
One of the first dictates of writing and speaking is a respect for the meaning of words and their appropriate use. If we strip words of their meaning they become mere babble of no value.
Canada’s political elites have a propensity for stripping language of its meaning and creating meaningless babble that confounds, infuriates and leaves one to wonder: Who are the dimwitted gremlins who dream up these bald absurdities?
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has now set a new standard for our illiterate political elites by standing in the House of Commons and claiming with a straight face(and appropriate gravity) that, “Quebecois form a nation within a united Canada.” One has to wonder how a grown man of such considerable rank could utter such gibberish.
A “nation” is by definition an independent sovereign entity. Quebec has yet to achieve this status but our witless political elites are determined to see that they achieve this subterfuge.
Harper compounds his oxymoronic non sequitur by saying “within a united Canada.” Sorry Mr. Harper: How can Canada be united when as you claim Quebec exists as a nation within Canada? Has this been taken out of context (which is the usual glib defense) or is there something lost in translation? What did you really mean to say? What you say makes no sense. Can I send you an Oxford dictionary for Christmas?
Ironically, Bloc Quebecois leader, Gilles Duceppe is one politician who speaks the truth when he accuses Harper’s motion of being a clumsy attempt to “pull the wool over the public’s eyes.” He also rightly referred to it as “just a partisan tactic.”
Duceppe also proclaimed, “Never will I accept the only condition to be a nation is to recognize the right to be in Canada.” These words come as a rallying cry for the separatist movement. And now that they have been granted nation status this becomes but one more weapon in their advance toward separation. Even though it is claimed to be only a symbolic recognition our feckless federalists have a proven track record of yielding to Quebec’s blackmail. It is now going to be increasingly difficult to defend why this symbolic status should not be “officialized.”
Where the prime minister could have stood in The House in the fashion of a great statesman and heaped scorn on the BQ’s cynical and opportunistic attempt to exploit the rift in the Liberal party he decided to exercise his own cynical opportunism and use the issue for his own partisan advantage. Harper’s “political bombshell” is an act of sedition.
The Liberal party is supposed to be a party in renewal but it seems it cannot escape its sordid past.
In a recent Globe and Mail column Lysiane Gagnon makes the astute observation:
The concept of a civic nation uniquely based in Quebec was created by the sovereigntists for tactical purposes. The provincial Liberals, under pressure to cater to the nationalist vote, foolishly fell into the semantic trap. They too have been half-heartedly talking about the “Quebec nation” for a few years. And then Michael Ignatieff and the Quebec wing of the Liberal Party of Canada blindly followed suit. They should have known that words are not innocent.
The operative word here is “blindly” and it applies primarily to Michael Ignatieff, the leadership candidate who has been absent from the country and has displayed a stunning insensitivity regarding the constitutional wars fought in his absence. Ignatieff, Jeffrey Simpson’s “idiot savant,” with his treacherous intellectualism is willing to pander to separatist machinations without regard for consequences. Gagnon is right when she says “words are not innocent.”
For Quebec Premier Jean Charest the word “nation” has very real meaning:
It changes the way our laws are interpreted. It changes the way Quebecers will see their future. Because the recognition of Quebec as a nation is a way for us to occupy the place that is owed us in Canada and elsewhere in the world.
Clearly, Charest sees this symbolic gesture as having the weight of constitutional law. It will in any case be exploited to advance Quebec’s separateness.
Even though Charest is a Liberal premier he speaks with the zeal of a separatist and implies that Quebec’s participation in Canada will now be more nominal than ever. This motion gives him fresh ammunition to attack the PQ, hopefully marginalize them, and then practice his own brand of incremental separation.
It is timely to remind ourselves that PM Harper is a signatory to the Alberta firewall letter which is a manifesto for provincial supremacy. Nation status as granted to Quebec becomes a temptation for other provinces to follow suit with their own demands and escalate the process which in less polite terms is known as Balkanization.
Even though Quebec already has a well defined special status and separateness from Confederation with all the necessary powers to preserve and protect its culture it has just been handed another lever of separation.
While beleaguered Canadians are all too willing (namely the Globe and Mail editorial board) to indulge our gutless political elites we appear internationally as a country bent on self-destruction. Creating nations within nations (a casual sleight of hand for our peerless leaders) will no doubt be viewed as farce extraordinaire in less blessed countries that struggle for existence and basic unity.
Canada’s pallid political elites unashamedly pander to internal nationalisms as they fail to address the larger nationalism that sustains and nurtures the country’s constituencies. If the country is held to be divisible it will ultimately fragment into its constituent parts.
As the Liberal Party of Canada approaches its national convention it manifests a loathsome complacency and slothfulness.
Our accommodating political elites are granting Quebec sovereignty incrementally. Separatists don’t have to win a referendum. A nation that plays fast and loose with its constitutional values and allows them to be used for partisan advantage and insidious parochialisms will assuredly cease to be a nation.